Tegan and Sara's new album Heartthrob officially releases Tuesday. As if the previously released tracks weren't proof enough, the pair definitely ventures into pop territory with this entire set. And it's so, so good.
"As an artist, when you’re making music and you’re touring for a living, you start setting all these goals for yourself,” Sara told Variance. “Tegan and I have accomplished the many things we wanted to accomplish. We’ve been all over the world and we’ve seen our audience grow from a handful of people, to a hundred people, to five hundred people, to now.”
Together the girls have experienced every level of touring and every level of obscurity. And while the group has a career playing in front of thousands and headlining festivals, there is still something on the to-do list for Tegan and Sara.
“We still haven’t had a big radio proper hit,” she confessed. “There’s a part of me that [says] that’s still kind of on the list of things to accomplish with this band.”
In 2005, a track called “Walking with a Ghost” from their fourth album, So Jealous, was hitting commercial airwaves, taking the band beyond college and satellite radio. Sara pinpoints this time frame as a pivotal moment in their careers.
“We were still very much what I would consider a cult band. We didn’t receive a lot of mainstream media and we hadn’t done a lot of stuff with television or anything like that. All of a sudden, between touring with The Killers and having a song on alternative rock radio in the United States, we really saw our audience grow and started to see opportunities that we hadn’t in the past.”
She continued: “I hope that, with this record, we will get radio play. For us, the idea was to spend more time thinking about how the music sonically and aesthetically would sound and reach a broader group of people. On our past records, we were happier playing our music, and doing what we wanted, and sounding the way that we wanted, not necessarily thinking about how that sound might limit us.”
During the writing process, Tegan and Sara discussed the potential of Heartthrob and the vision of furthered success with this unfamiliar territory. Wanting to move forward with their achievements, both girls aimed to write tracks that appeal to already dedicated fans and those who are tuned into popular radio.
“We did actually talk about that on this record—and not in a mainstream, selling out kind of way. But not everybody around the world is listening to indie rock or reading Pitchfork,” she said.
“You start to realize, wow, there’s a whole part of the world that wouldn’t even know about us because we’re more of an indie rock band. The art of collaborating and remixing is fantastic, and it’s been a wonderful way for Tegan and me to get out to a lot of different people and a lot of different types of audiences. We’ll continue to do those things in order to expand the magic.”
Watch Andy Samberg "interview" Tegan and Sara about their perfect "Heartthrob":